The 46th edition of NeoCon was a resounding success, delivering a fully immersive commercial design experience that went above and beyond, illuminating cross-industry societal, economic, and psychological trends.
With attendance up 20 percent, the halls of Chicago’s Merchandise Mart were buzzing with specifiers, facility managers, manufacturers, clients, and media from across North America and the globe. Close to 50,000 industry professionals gathered to see the latest product introductions for commercial design, to network with industry peers and to take advantage of the stellar line-up of keynote and educational offerings.
“This year’s show really brought out the best the industry has to offer,” said Byron Morton, VP Leasing. “From cutting edge technology to a complete re-imagination of traditional office environments, innovation was at the forefront. Businesses, large and small, get the importance of design and the attendance at Neocon 2014 is a testament to that. Our permanent and temporary exhibitors responded to the uptick in the economy with creative solutions for key vertical markets from office to education, hospitality, and healthcare. Solutions on display at NeoCon focused on employee well-being as well productivity.”
Susan McCullough, senior vice president, MMPI, continues “As we are the largest commercial design trade show in North America, we have the unique ability to bring people together across multiple markets. From designers and architects to manufacturers to end users, NeoCon connects people in a way that no other show can. It was exciting to see that many of the firms were sending large design teams once again. We were also pleased with attendee reception to the show’s new initiatives from improved signage and digital navigational tools, to the re-organization of the seventh and eighth floors.”
Keynote sessions were all full-houses as the show’s program resonated with attendees from all commercial markets. Highlights included design super-star Todd Bracher, cognitive psychologist Scott Barry Kaufman, world-renowned architect Adrian D. Smith and Tom Eich, the CTO at IDEO. In addition, the show offered an array of CEU-accredited seminars for interior designers, architects, LEED professionals, lighting, and healthcare designers. Special events, awards programs and cocktails rounded out the dynamic experience this year.
Both exhibitors and attendees expressed their satisfaction at this year’s turnout, noting the show’s increased size and presence on both a national and international level: Brad Karl, the director of marketing for Norix, a second time exhibitor, stated, “The show this year has been really encouraging for us, especially because it lets us reach people outside of our traditional market. The interest this year is definitely up and engaging, diverse groups of people have stopped by our booth. It feels like we’re gaining momentum and really getting the trends right.”
Long-term exhibitors agreed that the show’s growth in recent years has been positive. Stephanie Forsythe, the director and designer at Vancouver-based design studio, Molo, remarked, “We've been exhibiting for five years. We've had really great interactions with visitors and it's been a great chance for us to interact with people who haven't seen our products before. It's really worthwhile for us to be here.”
All in all, NeoCon 2014 showed that not only does “place matter,” the theme of this year’s show, but products and people do, as well. This was seen in every area of the event, from programming to product launches and everything in between. Next year’s show will take place June 15-17, 2015.